Deep River is a short novel through which Shusaku Endo shares the story of a number of Japanese tourists who travel to India in an unknown pursuit of their pilgrimage of grace. Ironically the characters within the novel are non-believers of the Hindu religion, which can be a bit confusing for the reader at first. But as one proceeds through the novel, one will come to realize that the basis of the novel was not to review any particular religion, but to depict the individual journey to God. As stated within the novel, “God has many different faces. I don’t think God exists exclusively in the churches and chapels of Europe…(p.121)”Meaning similar paths will most likely not be taken. However it becomes evident through the reading that it is their sub-conscious notions that lead them to India to find God, although their trips appear to be for alternative reasons.
Throughout the novel, Endo jumps from one character to the next revealing intimate moments of each characters past to the reader in an attempt to explain the cause of the individual’s journey to India. Each character’s story is different however all the stories share a broken link in their lives that only God, in one of his many faces, can fill. Although he is presented later within the novel, Numada, a short story writer, displays one of the several manners in which an individual can find God, through nature. Through the numerous events of his interactions with animals and nature, Numada was presented with a path of revelation that led him to God.
When Numada is first introduced to the reader, he is currently on his way to India when he is recognized by one of the stewardess on board. When asked to confirm his identity, Endo states that he, “[nods] his head in silent embarrassment.” Numada behavior appears to be a bit strange as it can be taken two different ways. In one manner, Numada silent embarrassment can be taken as modesty or humility that can be attributed to the Japanese culture or the Christian values. In the other manner, Numada response can be taken as embarrassment for his profession.
In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus states, “…if anyone denies me here own earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven.” Although he is unaware of it at the moment, Numada’s writing is a reflection of his love for God which is represented by his love for animals.